News From Terre Haute, Indiana

March 19, 2010

ISU gets homestand started with sweep of WMU

Todd Golden
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE —  

Indiana State’s baseball team doesn’t have many homestands this season, so when they do play at Bob Warn Field, it is imperative that the Sycamores take advantage of its home field while it can.

The Sycamores played the first two games of a nine-game home set on Friday against Western Michigan, its longest home stretch of the season. They got the momentum they sought by sweeping the Broncos 5-4 and 3-2 in a doubleheader that was hastily called to avoid predicted rain late Saturday and Sunday.

Once ISU completes its current homestand, it only has seven home games left, all of them bunched between April 16 and May 2, so the Sycamores were happy to get moving in the right direction.

“It was a huge win, especially to win some close games. We’ve struggled to keep some games close, but our pitching is stepping up and our hitters are getting the clutch hits. It feels pretty good right now,” said ISU starting pitcher Jake Petricka, who won the nightcap with an eight-inning effort.

The Sycamores (10-5) gutted out come-from-behind one-run wins in both games of the doubleheader against the struggling Broncos.

In game one, WMU (2-12) led 4-3 going into the eighth inning as the Sycamores had stranded 11 runners on base to that point in the game. With one out, Ryan Strausborger walked and went to third on a single by Kyle Burnam, who subsequently stole second.

ISU third baseman Luke Fieser made sure the Sycamores’ aggressiveness paid off as he singled to center, scoring both Strausborger and Burnam to put ISU in front 5-4. Fieser was 4 for 5 with a double and two RBIs in the game.

ISU closer Tyler Browning struck out two in the ninth to close the deal for the Sycamores.

Hits were harder to come by for the Sycamores in the nightcap. WMU starter Eric Heckaman had a no-hitter active into the fifth inning as WMU led 2-1. ISU managed its run in the second when Fieser reached on an error, stole second and eventually scored on a Phil Liniger sacrifice fly.

Though the Broncos led, Petricka kept the Sycamores in the game with a good outing. He pitched 8 innings and had five strikeouts. WMU had runners in scoring position in five innings, but only cashed in with runs in one of them.

“I’ve been hitting my spots better. If you get the ground ball, if you get the double play, it’s a lot better than throwing harder and trying to get the strikeout,” Petricka said.

Robby Ort, ISU’s leading hitter with a .420 batting average, ended Heckaman’s no-hit bid in the fifth with a leadoff single, followed by a Liniger single. Jeremy Lucas reached on an infield single to load the bases for Jordan Pearson. The freshman lofted a sacrifice fly to center to tie the game at 2.

The sac fly put the Sycamores over the top in the eighth inning. Pearson led off with a single, stole second and went to third on a sacrifice bunt by Grant Grgurich. Strausborger lofted the go-ahead fly to center, scoring Pearson to make it 3-2. Browning struck out the side in the ninth to earn his second save of the day.

“It was nice to see the freshman come up and get the inning started off right. We kind of rolled the dice a little bit and decided to steal instead of bunt. We got him to third and Straus got him in,” ISU coach Rick Heller said.

Though three sacrifice flies in a game is unusual, the Sycamores have been adept at getting the run-scoring flies so far this season. Going into Friday’s action, ISU was sixth in the nation. It now has 18 sacrifice flies, which would vault it to second in the country if no other team ahead of them had any in their Friday games.

“You look at the scoreboard and we had two errors and only had four hits and we were able to win. We’ll take it,” Heller said.

The Sycamores and Broncos will play another doubleheader today, starting at noon.

ISU 5, WMU 4

Game 1

WMU ab r h bi ISU ab r h bi

Galbraith cf 3 2 2 0 Strausbrgr cf 3 2 0 0

Martinez 2b 1 1 0 0 Burnam lf 3 2 1 0

Thoma 2b 0 0 0 0 Fieser 3b 5 1 4 2

Lewis c 4 0 1 1 Graham dh 4 0 2 1

Simpson dh 3 1 0 0 Liniger 1b 5 0 1 1

Cross rf 3 0 1 1 Ort rf 4 0 1 0

Simotes 3b 4 0 2 1 Grgurich 2b 4 0 1 0

McMillin ss 4 0 0 1 Lucas c 4 0 1 0

Forton 1b 3 0 0 0 Ferrell ss 4 0 0 0

Wehrmeyer lf 3 0 0 0

Totals 28 4 6 4 Totals 36 5 11 4

Western Michigan 300 010 000 — 4

Indiana State 001 200 02x — 5

E —McMillin (7), Webber (1), Fieser (4). DP — ISU 2. LOB — WMU 4, ISU 12. 2B — Simotes (3), Fieser (3), Grgurich (1). SH — Martinez (1). SB — Strausborger (6), Burnam 2 (3), Graham 2 (5). CS — Lewis (1), Simotes (1).

IP H R ER BB SO

WMU

Webber 4 7 3 3 3 3

Hall (L, 1-2) 4 4 2 2 1 5

ISU

Van Skike 6 5 4 4 3 4

Mann (W, 4-0) 2 1 0 0 0 0

Browning (S, 2) 1 0 0 0 0 2

WP — Hall (3). HBP — by Van Skike (Martinez, Simpson, Forton); by Webber (Strausborger). T — 2:24. A — 267.



ISU 3, WMU 2

Game 2

WMU ab r h bi ISU ab r h bi

Galbraith cf 4 0 1 0 Strausbrgr cf 3 0 0 1

Martinez 2b 3 0 1 0 Burnam lf 4 0 0 0

Thoma 2b 0 0 0 0 Graham c 3 0 0 0

Lewis dh 4 1 2 0 Fieser 3b 3 1 0 0

Simpson lf 4 1 1 0 Ort rf 3 1 1 0

Cross rf 3 0 2 0 Liniger 1b 2 0 1 1

Simotes 3b 3 0 0 1 Lucas dh 3 0 1 0

McMillin ss 4 0 1 1 Pearson 2b 2 1 1 1

Bossenbery 1b 4 0 0 0 Ferrell ss 2 0 0 0

Butkus c 3 0 0 0 Grgurich ph 0 0 0 0

Ball lf 0 0 0 0

Totals 32 2 8 2 Totals 25 3 4 3

Western Michigan 000 200 000 — 2

Indiana State 010 010 01x — 3

E —Martinez (4), Ferrell (5), Petricka (2). DP — ISU 2. LOB — WMU 6, ISU 2. 2B — Cross 2 (4). SH — Cross (1), Grgurich (1). SF — Strausborger (3), Liniger (3), Pearson (2). SB — Fieser (4), Pearson (3).

IP H R ER BB SO

WMU

Heckaman (L, 0-3) 7 4 3 2 0 3

Mosher 1 0 0 0 0 0

ISU

Petricka (W, 2-3) 8 8 2 2 2 5

Browning (S, 3) 1 0 0 0 0 3

T — 1:57. A — 262.

Next — Indiana State (10-5) will host Western Michigan (2-13) at Bob Warn Field in a doubleheader at noon today.